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Poster: scooter_nyc Date: Nov 25, 2003 4:07pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: prelinger public domain?

The films on the site are "public domain" in that you can take them and do *pretty much* whatever you want with them. If you look through the posts on this forum, you'll see that people have used clips from the films in their own independent productions. And they've had to pay nothing for using the footage, because "public domain" means that work that once upon a time was owned by an individual or entity (that would have charged a fee for its use) is now in fact owned by the general public: you, me, everyone. In these days when the powers that be are actively seeking to do away with the concept of public domain, an archive like this is pretty rare.

Selling the films on this site goes against the spirit of public domain in a big way. After all, if we all own it and its available to everyone for nothing, why should you be able to come along and make a profit on it? Take a look at Earthstation1.com, which sells VCDs of lots of films that are available on this site. Not only are they selling them for a profit, they've gone as far as to put up a copyright notice! To me, that amounts to stealing from all of us in a way.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffakb Date: Nov 25, 2003 11:36pm
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: prelinger public domain?

Selling the films on this site goes against the spirit of public domain in a big way. After all, if we all own it and its available to everyone for nothing, why should you be able to come along and make a profit on it?

There's a large market for public domain goods, Shakespeare and the Bible come to mind. Likewise there are places that sell public domain video material. Anyone may enter those markets, so the price is low and based more on added value (ie packaging and nice cover artwork) and distribution networks.

To apply the term "public domain" to something to me means that no one may claim the legal right to prevent someone else from doing whatever they like with a work. Its not clear to me whether the Prelinger collection on the IA meets that definition with its qualified public domain Creative Commons license.

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Poster: scooter_nyc Date: Nov 26, 2003 12:38am
Forum: prelinger Subject: Re: prelinger public domain?

Oh, I agree that there's a market for PD stuff, albeit a small, specialized one. My argument was that selling PD stuff back to the public is against the sprit of public domain in the first place.

(Shakespeare and the Bible, besides being timeless, both benefit from a myriad of editions that often feature different non-PD aspects: cuttings, simplifications, translations, explanations, notes, etc. Harder to do that sort of thing with PD video.)

The license is actually far more permissive than I remembered. It only forbids selling the datafiles themselves, not the actual films that they represent. It would seem to me that the only way you'd run afoul of the license is to sell the datafiles as software vs. films, if that makes any sense.

Anyone else have a different reading of the license?